Monday, February 28, 2011

The BUZZ of Spring :)

We just had a mega thunderstorm last night that sure reminded me of spring. Thankfully all is well after an interesting middle of the night visit to the basement after being in a deep deep sleep. : /

Spring is buzzing.....even if it is just in my head and on my cookies. lol

This week I have lots more spring cookie pics to show you........along with a guest post and another tutorial or two. Stick around. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Growing A Flower in a Pot (Tutorial)

It's been way too long since I've done a tutorial........so let's grow a flower in a pot.

First you take a birthday cupcake cutter (yes, you heard that right!) along with a flower and a leaf cutter.

Reshape the top of the cupcake to look more like a pot. Cut off the flame with the flower cutter. Add the flower and leaf to the main part and.................wah lah...... you have a flower in a pot. :)

To decorate it.....



And the healthy growing flowers................


Lots coming up this week as we SPRING into March. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ladybug, Ladybug.....Where is Spring?

Maybe the ladybugs can bring a little spring our way. :)


Have a wonderful Saturday.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quilted Spring Flower

I've been wanting to do a quilted flower with many long petals for a long time. I finally took the plunge and made this one.


It's a huge cookie.....but it almost has to be in order to put in all the details. I gave it to my friend yesterday and she loved it. :) That makes me so happy. 

We had rain, sleet, and snow yesterday. What a weird storm. It rained buckets, snowed a few inches, and left slushy sleet everywhere. Weird!

I'll keep bringing on the spring via cookies. Hopefully the weather will latch on to the idea and things will warm up and green up soon. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Thinking.....But Winter Prevails : /

Lots of spring cookies coming soon. I'm having incredible fun this week decorating. :)

Even though I love snow......the forecast says we may get a little tonight. Oh my......now that our bodies have experienced spring weather..........snow seems like a threat. : /

Oh well.....I will think spring no matter.
 And hopefully showing you my cookies will help you do the same. hee hee


Just a few simple stitched flowers.....but it's a beginning. 

I did a bunch of pictorials with this batch of cookies too.....so stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Last Hint of Winter......

My one remaining cookie photo from last week. Funny that it would be winter caps and mittens. This morning we have freezing rain and sleet hitting the window. Yikes.....I knew once we got in the spring mode last week.....any cold/wintry precipitation we received was going to be tough. 


The good news is that I've started spring cookies. :))))))) Hopefully I'll have pics tomorrow so I can start showing them to you.

Hopefully making spring cookies, looking at spring cookies, and thinking about spring  will bring it back. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Seeing Stars......

I had an order for star cookies with names on them. I was able to use gold luster dust and disco dust. I wish the photo did them justice.


For a great video on applying luster dust, go here. I use almond extract instead of vodka to apply the luster dust. Then I used that same wet brush to add the disco dust randomly to the stars. You could also add the disco dust dry. 

I'm finally baking again today......so we'll have some more cookies and tutorials coming up. My house is nice and clean and I'm feeling ambitious again. I've got lots of spring ideas. Can't wait!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Dear Dear Friend!

The rest of Dorcas' birthday cookies. :)




I've gotta get working on some new cookies. I'm running out of blog posts. hee hee 

I've got some things lined up for the blog in the next few weeks. Look forward to a terrific blog give-away in March. I'm having to refrain myself from telling you about it right now. :)

The beginning of a new week.....fresh and new. Life is awesome. Enjoy every breath.

P.S. Since so many are asking......I used Sugarbakers' Chocolate Mini-Chip Cookie recipe for these cookies. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Best Friend Birthday

Along with Keith's birthday cookies last month, one of my best-est friends had a birthday too. It was her 60th....and she was really dreading it.

I really wanted to do something special.....first to show her how much I loved her.....but also, remind her that every day is a gift.....and it doesn't matter how old we are, the key is contentment in whatever place we find ourselves. (I had a big lesson on this in December when I turned 50!) I've been praying weekly with Dorcas for at least eight years! It is amazing how close you get to someone when you share your deepest needs and pray for each other on a regular basis. What a super sweet relationship we have with each other. :)

Dorcas loves pink (she's commented on all my recent pink cookies multiple times) and she is an avid bird watcher.



I'll show you the rest of her cookies tomorrow. Have a restful, wonderful Sunday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Keith's Birthday Cookies :)

All our snow/ice is melted......and it was 70 degrees outside yesterday. It was gorgeous and so nice.......BUT, I think we've all slipped into the spring mode and it is, uh, not spring! Next week I see 20 degrees in the forecast. That's going to be a little hard to swallow after such beautiful weather this week.

My son, Keith, had his 19th birthday last month. I made birthday cookies for him (along with cookies for one of my best-est friend's birthday as well) and didn't post them since Valentines Day was imminent. So here are the rest of them..............



P.S. Someone was asking me to do a tutorial on making button cookies. Since Callye (SweetSugarBelle) is much better at it than me, check out her tutorial.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meet Karen of Karen's Cookies

I love sharing about other cookie decorators because even though we all have an obvious common link via cookies, we are all very unique.....and it is so interesting to hear about another cookier's life. 

Karen of Karen's Cookies is no stranger to most cookie decorators. Since she and her husband operate an online cookie decorating supply shop, most are very familiar with her wonderful website that not only sells products, but shares lots of tutorials, tips, ideas, and so much more!

Karen's website is a favorite place for me to go online. It is one of those sites where I feel very comfortable. I think it is because Karen & Mike have become my friends. They are more than salespeople trying to make money. They are cookie friends that truly want to help and inspire others to decorate cookies. They bend over backwards to help in any way they can. 

Meet my friend, Karen.......


Karen and I began our friendship back in May of 2009. (Wow, Karen, it's been almost two years ago!) She contacted me and asked if I'd like to do a blog give-away on my site, and of course, I said yes. :) And after that, we have maintained our friendship and written back and forth as time allows. We have kindred spirits........we both have several children and lots more in common......mainly the love of decorating cookies. Karen and Mike have such generous hearts. We've since done another blog give-away here on this blog. When lots of decorators came together and inquired about have a forum for cookies, Mike & Karen stepped in and create an awesome place to meet other cookiers and find out just about anything you'd want to know about cookie decorating. (If you aren't familiar with it, check out CookiersRUs.) Last March when I went to Ukraine and wanted to take decorating supplies to a cake decorator in Ukraine who wanted to learn cookie decorating, without any hesitation, Karen generously offered the items I needed. And when we had our first annual Cookie Camp in September 2010, Karen's Cookies was one of our biggest sponsors. :))))))))

Karen answered my ten guest blog questions and I think you will learn much about this amazing woman through her answers. 

____________________________________________________

Hearts and Flowers 2
Where did your love for cookie decorating begin and do you still love to decorate cookies now that you have a full time cookie decorating business?

We always decorated Christmas cookies as a family for as far back as I can remember, but my first “solo” cookie experience was when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I made some Easter bunny and egg cookies all by myself. I wish I had a picture of them! Then a few years later, I got the idea to do some cookies, but I didn't have a cookie cutter that matched, so I made a template out of paper and cut around it. Looking back, I guess that was pretty good problem-solving for a 12-year old before the internet! But I remember at that time being so excited that cookie designs were literally endless and only limited by imagination. I've been hooked ever since! I do still love it, but I don't do it EVERY day, so that might help keep the love alive.

Jungle Pals 5

Tell us how Karen's Cookies came about.

I worked as a professional decorator (cookies and wedding cakes) for several years before I had kids. When I had my first baby almost 11 years ago, I was kind of bored and missing the decorating, but I wanted to stay home with the baby. Mike was a web developer at the time, so I asked him if he could make me a cookie decorating web page where I could put up my ideas and pictures of my cookies, along with some instruction. I developed a little following, and I was getting lots of emails from people asking where I get my supplies, so I figured I might as well sell them myself. So in 2007 Mike redesigned the site, and we put about 50 products up for sale. It grew steadily until we finally had to move it out of the house in January of 2010. Now we have over 1000 products, and Mike and I both work on it full time.



Among the products you offer, what are your favorites? Which do you use the most in your own kitchen?

I love the Americolor food coloring and the Adjustable Rolling pin, and I also love the boo-boo sticks and the disposable bags. If I could only have a handful of products to decorate with, those are what I would take. My recent loves are disco dust and the silver and gold luster dust. I have lots of fun with those!

snow_arrangement

I already know the answer to this.....but I'll ask it for the readers. What if a decorator wants an item that you don't carry? Are you willing to try to carry things on demand?

I am always willing to add items that people are looking for. I find it amazing that after decorating cookies for most of my life, I STILL discover new products and new ways of doing things that I never knew existed! I discover most of those through emails from people asking why I don't carry Product A or Product B. Some of our best products have come that way.

valentine_hearts_cookies_01

What piece of advice would you give a beginning decorator?

Don't give up after your first try! I sometimes get emails from people who are frustrated because they followed all the instructions and their cookies don't look like mine. I always explain that my first cookies were pretty rough (I do wish I had a picture!). It takes practice and patience, and you learn the most from the mistakes. Keep trying, and have fun with it. If you're not having fun, it's not worth it!

cookies_sports_balls


What is the most challenging part of running Karen's Cookies?

The most challenging part is balancing my “regular life” with my “cookie life”. We were home based for 3 years, and it was really hard to separate the two. Now that we're in a warehouse space, it's easier, but still a challenge. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night worrying about packages getting to customers on time, or worrying about when we'll get popular items back in stock. But I'm getting better at letting that stuff go when I'm at home. As with all things in life-- it's a process!

 flower_cookie_bouquet

So how do you do it all......care for a husband and four children, run an online cookie decorating business, make beautiful cookies, create how-to videos, and now write a blog?!

I don't do it all!! I definitely let things slide-- a lot! I have to, or I'll go crazy. I'm really lucky because Mike and I work very well together. We enjoy being together, whether we're working or not. We go on lots of “dates” to the shop and work late into the evening, and we laugh a lot and have fun with it. I think the secret is to try to keep it fun, even if it's “work”. Sometimes we bring the kids along and we pay them to do things like break down boxes and put cookie cutter shipments away. It's definitely a family affair. We have great support from our family and friends. Sometimes my friends or mother-in-law will take my 3-year-old so I can decorate cookies uninterrupted while the kids are in school. I have lots and lots of help.

 

What is your favorite thing to do to “get away from it all”?

Mike and I love board games, so we play those a lot. In the summer we love to go camping as a family. It's hard to get away for long periods because it's just Mike and I who run the shop, and people need their orders year 'round, but we'll drive up to a campground after orders are shipped one day, and then come back in time to ship orders the next day. We're all about the mini-vacations! :D 

easter_cookie_bouquet 

What is the most gratifying part of operating Karen's Cookies?

Without a doubt, the best part is getting emails from people who say things like “I never thought I could do this, but you showed me how and I'm doing it!” I recently read an email from a lady who said that she found my site during a very dark time in her life and was able to do “cookie therapy” to get through it. Those are the things that make the everyday grind worth it. The original web site was all about teaching and sharing, and that's still the heart and soul of what we do.



Are there any future plans for Karen's Cookies?

We just want to keep growing and get better and better. We always have goals for more content, more tutorials, more videos. We hope to just keep adding, and keep people decorating cookies! 


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What a fun interview. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Karen better. And if you haven't checked out Karen's Cookie Blog, do it! Ever post has me copying down a new recipe or sparking an idea of a cookie I want to try. Plus, she is always offering a give-away. Don't miss it! 

All photos above are the property of karenscookies.net  and were used by permission. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Decorating With Glaze......Part 3

I've already gone over the basics of decorating with glaze icing......follow the links to see decorating with glaze Part 1 and Part 2.

I did another step by step pictorial to show you how I decorated a birthday present cookie.


This was the birthday set I did for my son, Keith, last month. I used the amazingly delicious Sugarbakers’ Chocolate Mini-Chip Cookies that Callye (SweetSugarBelle) shared on her blog. 

More of Keith's birthday cookies.......


Back to house cleaning today.......I'm trying to have a good attitude. :) I've prayed about remembering that I have this beautiful house to take care of.....it is such a pleasant place to work without a ton of stress. (Working at the hospital, I definitely know what stress looks like in a job!) And also, once it is clean, I will feel so much better. :)

Happy Wednesday to you!

P.S. On the right side bar, I've just added a handy list of links to all the tutorials and informational posts I've done.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Does A Nice Sunny Day Do That?

Ever notice how a bright sunny day just makes you feel so much better than normal? Yesterday was like that for me. I've been in a slump.....partly due to menopause.....partly due to the dark dreary days of winter, and then partly due to a bad attitude. :( So yesterday being out in the sunshine and breathing in that sweet fresh air......it just really lifted me up. It was nice. :)

Today, it's time to tackle the dirty house........I really want a clean house, but I don't want to have to work at it, ya know? But since the cookie orders are done, Valentines Day fun is over.....it is time. : /

I thought I would share my last two valentine cookie pics. I made these over the weekend. My precious friend who has finished chemo and is now finishing radiation for stage III breast CA......ordered these to delight all the workers at the cancer center. How sweet is that?! And Linda is one of my biggest fans. She requests my cookies often and asks for lots of them. :) The other day when she was picking up the cookies, I told her she was my biggest fan.....and she said, "And not just because of your cookies." She is precious to me. And I'm so grateful to God that she is doing so well after being diagnosed with CA. :)


And here's three jars I made....just in case.
I still have one left if anyone has a hankerin' for some left over Valentine minis. ;)


Once I get my housed cleaned......I can start focusing on some more how-tos and guest posts for this blog. 

Have a blessed day. Remember.......every moment counts. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!!!

I had a very successful week with a couple of orders and then a few surprises. This excites me so much. There had been a lull since Christmas and I was concerned that Cookies With A Mission was going to suffer. Thankfully, last fall I raised enough money to cover the June 2011 Ukraine trip, but there is still the need for approximately $2000 for the "women's camp" we are going to do during those two weeks. Ukrainian women seem to never get a break.....and when we described a women's retreat to them.....they got very excited. I'm thrilled it is finally in the plans for our annual trip! And $2000 is VERY inexpensive, by the way, since that is for FIFTY women to go away for two nights......food included! After Valentines week cookie sales, I'm well on my way toward that goal of covering the women's camp. :)

Valentines Day......it is finally here. For some reason.....it is one of my favorite seasons to make cookies. Those rich reds and pretty pinks are so fun.




It has been such a pleasure making so many cookies for this special season.
The greatest reason for Valentines Day......
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" Ephesians 5:1-2 

May you have a delightful day remembering the ones you love. :) 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Almost to the Finish Line :)

I didn't post yesterday. It's hard on Saturdays when I work. Plus, yesterday when I got home, I had to photo lots of cookies, bag lots of cookies, finish three cookie jars, etc etc. I finally sat down at 5:30 PM and I was ready for bed. lol It was a hard, hectic day at work.....and then lots to do when I got home. 

But now I've had a good night's sleep and all is well again. Plus, it is Sunday....the most wonderful day of the week. :)

How about some pink Valentine cookies?  You'll see repeat designs.....but I'm tweaking them and making them a little better each time.




Tomorrow's the day! Are you ready to show extra love to the ones near to your heart?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oh Valentines Day......you are almost here. ;)

More V cookie photos for you.

 Double hearts...


These kisses turned out as I had hoped. I'm so happy with them. :)


And here's the mauve and teal cookie jar....


Today's my last Valentines decorating day. I've enjoyed this season immensely.....but I'm also ready to move on from red, pink, and white. lol

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And They Just Keep Coming......

If you're tired of Valentines cookies.....I'd suggest you not look at my blog until late next week. lol That's all of I've got for now. But next week, I'll be making some DIFFERENT cookies and also, I've saved some birthday cookies from a few weeks ago to show you after the LOVE-ly day. :)




I'm a bit busy these next several days.....so I may be just showing you photos.....but I promise to get back to a variety of posts as soon as things settle down here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cookie Joy!

That's what I call it.....Cookie Joy......the joy on someone's face when they receive a special cookie. 

Here's Emily's boys enjoying the cookies she just won last week in the February Blog Give-Away. :)



And more Valentines cookies to show you.....of course. ;)




Back to work. Guess what I'm working on??? hee hee

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Toy: Photo Tent

In January, I bought myself a new toy with Christmas money. I'd love to be able to master photographing my cookies. My homemade photo box that Kyle made me a few years ago was falling a part and he's been saying he'd make me a new one.....but it wasn't happening. 

So I decided to splurge and buy one. It's a 30" cube.



I don't know how long it will last.....but for now it is wonderful. And it's nice and big so I can take shots of lots of cookies at once. I got it from Amazon HERE......but it says it is "currently unavailable". I only paid about $30 for it.....so I felt like that was a pretty good deal.

I still don't have the "perfect" lighting set up....but when I get things the way I want them.....I'll share about it here.


And of course.....a few Valentines cookies for the day. I'm not overly impressed with my envelopes.....but my creativity was shot after all the lace and "fancy" stuff I did. lol


And my red Valentine cookie jar......


I never get orders for these......but I sure love doing them and then giving them away. ;)

I'm baking up a ton of Valentines cookies today. Lots of decorating to do before Monday....
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